There is something sick and twisted, she thought,
About finding new words from the tongues of old prophets
And immediately seeking to buy them.
Discretely part of every statue and painting,
We find that unifying principle which makes all art art:
The price tag.
As a justification of labor and a mark of social status, it declares:
We have agreed that the work is worthy.
Thus evaluated into currency, it may be valued in fact,
My moral sensibilities following my wallet
With all the capacity of a sheep for self-determination.
The power of the gratis is the equality;
And I wonder why we haven't learned to love it
When the shackles are unlocked and the door wide open.
I hurtle forward through each day, head down, hands moving from one task to one to-do list tic mark to the next task that must also be done, not because it must be done, but because it has been decided by my prior self that this is how I shall organize my future existence into a coherent whole. I am she who does. The cart, the embodiment of functionality, precedes the horse, which lives. I peer around the cracks of long, deadening hours, stick my fingers in and pry, though their use value as crowbars is limited to the world of virtual reality. And supposedly the answer is to answer the question, but I sometimes wonder if the moment of now and the dream of yesterday will both be lost in the deafening din of the creative word, once it is spoken. "Let there be..." And so there shall. Shall in the present tense has not the implications of should in the subjunctive. There shall, but it is no social or moral obligation laid upon me. No mere cooperation of hormones and electrochemical impulses: set down your megaphone, determinist doomsmen. If only to transcend the story you've written in my DNA, let the heavy weight of a meaningless day fall from shoulders that only grudgingly agreed to carry it. They do not care. They are sick below and elsewhere above like a suspension of brain in bile. They are only waiting to learn the real lesson of life, which begins with a different, life-saving or life-destroying question: how do you survive the small things?
Someday, I will die. And I wonder, will what I do between now and then make those years worth the effort? Or will I settle down in a space not my own, convincing myself in fear-pitched tones that I love it, or at least I can bear it, even as it exsanguinates my foolish husk of self?